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ESE504 : The Class : Advanced CD : Chapters 12 - 13
Adapting Content

We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us... We already know more than we need to do that...Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven't so far. - Ronald Edmonds



Bill Jones literally stomped down the hall. He was fuming! At an IEP meeting he had argued about the work of one of the students, Clark, in his American History class. Somehow, the team of administrators, specialists and parents had turned the situation into stormy weather and he felt like he had been struck by lightning.

True, Clark had a learning disability and did need to succeed, but he was a 6'2" handsome cowboy, and he could learn if he applied himself -- he was just a lazy, laid back kid.

The IEP team wanted Jones to make adjustments for a student who couldn't take notes. Why didn't those bleeding hearts teach the kid to take notes? Mr. Jones' whole way of teaching was a sophisticated series of power point assisted lectures. These people, on the strength of one student's needs, were calling his finessed presentations into question? It was ludicrous. Besides, by doing what they were suggesting and making accommodations for one kid, he wasn't being fair and it probably would end up cheating the whole class!

Bill was understandably proud of his teaching. Many of the students named him their favorite teacher and he even had a year book dedicated to him. He was passionate about his subject, worked hard, kept updating his teaching and spent every summer developing more depth in the subject. This year he had paid for his own trip back East and walked through many of the Civil War sites to provide a more personal feel to his unit.

The more Bill thought about the IEP meeting, the more violated he felt. It just wasn't fair to ask him to change his teaching style, and what about intellectual integrity? Weren't they asking him to cheat all the students so he could provide an inclusion situation for one kid?

















Assignment The storm clouds are gathering! By this time in the course, you should have some pretty strong feelings about this, yourself. [25 points]

1) Develop a series of points you will use to help Bill move from his current position to a more inclusive one. Include ways to help him feel less attacked and less defensive. [25 points]

2) Develop a metaphor that a Civics teacher might relate to that could enhance your discussion with Mr. Jones. [25 points]

3) Using the material in Wood, Chapter 12, provide a set of steps you would suggest Bill might take to move from lecture to the ideas offered in the chapter. [25 points]

4) Provide steps that a team might use to help Clark, the student, be more successful during the times that Mr. Jones uses his power point lectures. [25 points]

When we work with students who find learning difficult, they often feel defeated rather than challenged, and from that sense of defeat can come a feeling of hopelessness and unwillingness to put effort into work, only to fail and embarrass themselves again.

When teachers have an innate recognition of the importance of teaching students, they may feel discouraged or frantic because there is so much to do and so little seems to be happening to enhance understanding with one, seemingly resistant or lazy student..

5) Look at the assignment assumptions on p 406 of the Wood text. How many of these apply to your own personal set of norms? Make a checklist that would assist a teacher in determining student readiness to take responsibility for completing assignments. [25 points]

6) Homework is being discussed from many points of view. Develop a homework philosophy statement for special needs youth. Using the materials on pp. 403-414 in the Wood text, make a checklist to help teachers in inclusive settings to provide appropriate practice opportunities for special needs youth. [50 points]

Chapter Twelve - Use the box below to send assignments. If you plan to do more than one, either return to this box after send the assignment and submit the next material when it is completed, or send an email, identifying the module and reading, followed by your responses.

Chapter Thirteen

Adapting Media

Additional forms of media might support Mr. Jones' work with Clark. Many youngsters do not learn well from reading. And those who do like to read often gain a deeper understanding when it is augmented by visuals. Mr. Jones is already addressing this in part with his power point presentation. He is not just talking about ideas, he is providing a visual outline of the material.

One note -- we have a generation of "clickers" who use the television medium as a fast moving montage. Many students who have difficulty learning to read are hampered by ability to pay attention to the correct stimuli and the stay focused on it long enough to make cognitive connections. For this reason, though it seems entirely logical to believe that visual or auditory presentations will be a great answer for students who have difficulty with reading the material, the same limitations may have to be addressed, no matter what the media. In the following table, I listed three things. Add five more that you gained from personal experience, as a teacher, or from readings.

Maintaining Focus

1. Be fully present for short bursts of time - say three minutes, and then actively work to sustain focus for greater and greater periods.

2. Put yourself in the driver's seat. If you are studying about the Civil War, listen as though your father or brother were a part of the battle, or as though you were about to be sent to the front.

3. Keep a drifting tally. Put a pad at your desk and make a mark every time you find yourself wandering. Most of us listen for only a few moments at a time and then drift or daydream and repeat that process. Teach the student how to monitor that --i.e. to drift for shorter periods of time and to be mindful of the drifting.







From my own experience, I believe that learning - to read for instance, is a life long process, and one that many of us find arduous. Much as we like to believe that we teach people to read, many of us go through a series of steps, and somehow, we catch on. It reminds me a lot of learning to ride a bike. As I go through the motions and fall enough, I learn to maintain balance. However, I have to figure out "how" to maintain balance by myself. and that figuring out "how" usually means spending time in the dirt and trying again.

An interesting part of that whole "learning to ride" experience, is the importance of watching others - but with "new eyes." Up until the time that I became interested or motivated to learn, I had seen lots of people ride bikes and never paid attention. Now that I wanted to know specific details and I watched for the way a specific thing took place and I watched with a different directness. I have a very curious and busy mind, so I intuitively seemed to be able to figure out what to watch, and in a short time, I could really ride that bicycle.

In working with my own children who have reading and learning problems, I find that their problems with paying attention to reading are actually problems that carry over into paying attention to the television, listening to others, knowing that the teacher is giving directions. Figuring out what the important points in the lecture are so they can write down the correct kinds of notes may be something they will never be able to do, automatically. Two of my four youngsters have trouble even recognizing that the material at the front on the board that says Homework Assignment changed from yesterday and needs to be written down.

I find my youngsters having good intentions about doing homework - and often do it, but forget that it is in the notebook, or lose focus and end up leaving it on the rug in the bedroom and dropping pajamas on it, so forgetting to get it into the notebook, or spilling milk on it and then throwing it away without realizing it as the vital work they just completed with blood, sweat, and tears, yesterday evening.

Lack of attention to detail, being easily distracted, having problems with impulse control -- these are not solved by adding more visual or auditory stimuli.


Spend some time observing the way you learn. Ask two other adults how they go about learning new things. Some good sample questions might be:

When doing something that has a manual attached, do you read the manual and then proceed?

Do you do what you think is best and only read the manual when you get stuck?

If you get stuck, do you know what to do try next or do you get upset and go find someone else to take over?

When things are challenging, do you stick to them, or do you have a closet full of partially completed projects?

Now write a one minute essay about your findings and what you learned about learning styles. [25 points]


Read Chapter Thirteen in the Wood text (pp. 416-459). List different AV materials you might add to your teaching repertoire, using this format or a similar one, to summarize your ideas. [50 points]

AV or Equipment
Utilization in my Teaching
Chalk board      

In reviewing the research on effective practices with youth, the following summary is offered by Karen Cotton.

Research indicates that the following elements enhance the achievement, attitudes, and behavior of minority group students:

Strong leadership on the part of school administrators, which includes mobilizing resources to support the acquisition of basic skills by all students

Teachers who believe they are responsible for students' learning and capable of teaching them effectively

High expectations for student learning and behavior on the part of administrators and teachers, and active communication of these expectations to students

Safe, orderly, well-disciplined--but not rigid-- school and classroom environments

Teachers who are adept at modifying instructional materials and strategies in response to students' differing learning styles and needs

The provision of incentives, reinforcement, and rewards to enhance student learning motivation and acknowledge achievements

Regular, frequent monitoring of student progress and provision of feedback

Programs of staff development which are focused on school improvement and influenced by teachers themselves

Use of time, personnel, money, materials, and other resources in support of the school's priority goals

Active involvement and use of parents for instructional support, classroom help, and input into governance decisions

Coordination among staff of different programs serving the same children

Use of cooperative learning structures

Computer-assisted instructional activities which supplement and complement traditional, teacher-directed instruction

Peer and cross-age tutoring Provision of early childhood education programs

The use of small learning units within large schools, e.g., school-within-a-school, other alternative learning programs

Promotion policies which allow accelerated remedial instruction and/or transition classrooms as alternatives to retention

Provision of support targeted to the learning needs of those students who are retained in grade

Coordination between school and community resources as needed to support children in need of services outside the school

Multicultural programming, which is integrated into the overall school curriculum

Recruitment and hiring of minority teachers Learning activities to reduce racial and ethnic prejudice

Personnel, material, and activities to meet the needs of language minority students.

Elimination of tracking/long-term ability grouping and a reduction of retentions in grade

More judicious use of pullout programs and assignments to special education.

- from Educating Urban Minority Youth: Research on Effective Practices by Kathleen Cotton


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